Okay, full disclosure time: I have been listening to the members of Black Houses in various bands for almost ten years. I’m friends with them, and I actually work with two of the members. Quite frankly, sometimes it’s kind of weird. I hang out with these guys, work with them, ride the bus with them… and then I go to one of their shows, and the dynamic totally changes. I am a fan through and through, rocking the fuck out and thinking this band could not get any more awesome. I know some of you know what I’m talking about. The same goes for when I listen to their recordings, particularly their most recent album, Fury. Through different band names and line-up changes, there’s always been something intangible at the core that has never changed. Perhaps it’s the songwriting, primarily by guitarist/vocalist Christiaan Morris. After leaving the vocals to former bandmate Christen Shaw in their last band, Morris is back at the mic, singing his cutting lyrics in a trademark melodic shout. Big themes are loneliness, desensitization, dependency, and societal failures, but with nary a trace of whine. With the new band comes new writing and a new sound; more focused and more technical, the songs now feature intricate guitar solos and heavy riffs that give the band a darkly metallic sound, expanding on their garage punk background and giving it greater depth while making it a bit more accessible, to boot. The musicianship has been upped a notch all around. What hasn’t changed is the intensity, energy, and severe honesty of their songs. I know I’m biased, but I think this is their best and most complex release to date. If you don’t at least give it a try, you’re cheating yourself.
–Sarah Shay (Self-released, www.myspace.com/blackhousesmusic)